Today we will be learning two new characters: ᯀ /a/ and ᯂ, which represents both /ha/ and /ka/.
The phoneme [a] is inherent in every consonantal character. But when you want to write a word (or a syllable) with initial [a], then you have to use ᯀ.
In Mandailing, Simalungun, and Toba the value of ᯀ is always /a/, for example in the word asa: ᯁᯘ or in the word siala ᯘᯪᯀᯞ or hais ᯂᯀᯘᯪ᯲
However, in Karo and Pakpak, the value of ᯀ can be either [a] or [ha], for example in anak ᯀᯉᯂ᯳ (child) or in meherga ᯔᯧᯀᯒᯧ᯳ᯞ (expensive). Note that the sign for [ə] goes behind the /ra/ not the /ha/ – more about that later.
The shape of this character is either ᯂ or ᯄ – but it can also lay somewhere in between. The shape ᯄ is more common in Mandailing whereas Toba, Karo, and Pakpak use ᯂ. In Simalungun, as usual, the strokes are unconnected which results in ᯃ – notice that the two lower strokes also turned horizontal resembling a dash.
In Mandailing, Simalungun, and Toba the value of ᯂ and ᯄ is /ha/ in syllable initial position, for example in the word hata ‘word’ ᯂᯗ, or in aha ‘what’ ᯀᯂ.
It only becomes /ka/ in word- or syllable-final position: ᯄᯞᯄ᯲ (halak – man, human being), ᯞᯂ᯲ᯞᯂ᯲ (laklak – tree bark paper).
In Karo and Pakpak the value of this character is ᯂ /ka/, never /ha/: ᯂᯞᯂ᯳ (kalak – man, human being), ᯂᯗ (kata – word).
That the value of the characters ᯂ and ᯄ is /ha/ in Mandailing, Simalungun, and Toba (“Southern Group”), but /ka/ in Karo and Pakpak (“Northern Group”) makes sense. Mandailing, Simalungun and Toba do not have syllable initial [k]. Karo [k] at the beginning of a word or a syllable always becomes [h] in the southern group of Batak languages as can be seen in the following table.
|Northern Group||Southern Group||Indonesian|
For the writing exercises use the stop sign (pangolat) ᯲
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